Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Stuff.

Yesterday, I was at a chain bookstore with my kid. The store has a wooden train playset for kids to use. Children will typically rush to the table and try to comandeer a train for themselves. Frequently, they have to negotiate with other children who were there previously. Parents tend to stand close by, while keeping themselves at a remove, to better give thier kids an opportunity to solve the property and territory disputes themselves. There were two kids yesterday who were not playing with the trainset, though they were standing right next to it. While my kid played trains with another, these two were being looked after by a nanny (in uniform), who was handing them various trains from the shelf, asking them which one they wanted (to buy). Their mom was dashing around the store finding books that she needed.

As a mom, I am sympathetic to the mom with the nanny. There’s no way I could get any book-shopping for myself done with kid-in-tow, let alone two. But the nanny was not doing the kids (society?) any service. Instead of developing their social skills, the kids in her care were developing consumer skills.

I suppose it’s the sad mall-ification of life.

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